Proterra Inc. and the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) held an event Thursday, Feb. 28 in Sacramento to formally thank state agencies and the leadership of Gov. Jerry Brown for making the zero emissions battery electric bus a reality in the air pollution challenged San Joaquin Valley. The event included a bus tour and demo of the new Proterra BE35 EcoRide bus set to go into service for RTD in May.
Industry leaders, environmentalists and public transportation advocates are heralding this switch to a cleaner, more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly transit option as a major victory for all Californians.
The bus toured various state agencies in Sacramento, to validate the efforts of forward thinking agency leadership and staff who made zero-emission public transportation possible through grant supported innovation and to provide a successful example of a proven path forward for other industry leaders and governments who see value in manufacturing sustainable technologies.
The deployment of buses in Stockton was made possible by the California Energy Commission’s grant of $2.57 million under Assembly Bill 118 administered by CALSTART. “Urban communities that rely on public transportation are disproportionately affected by air pollution. That makes eliminating harmful tailpipe emissions from public buses a great way to make a real difference,” said California Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. “Proterra’s electric buses will help to protect the health of those who ride them, as well as those who work and live near the routes they travel.”
CALSTART works with businesses, fleets and government to develop and implement clean, efficient transportation solutions. “The Proterra electric bus produces zero emissions. This is the type of technology we will need going forward to improve the air quality in the San Joaquin Valley. Hopefully, this will be the first of many zero emission buses for RTD,” said CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel.
“This grant has made possible critical development in our fast charge battery-electric bus, including driveline improvements which we believe will make our bus more robust and reliable than existing diesel and CNG counterparts and on a cost-competitive basis,” commented Marc Gottschalk, chief development officer for Proterra. “We are deeply appreciative of the support and collaboration we have received from the California Energy Commission, CALSTART and the California Air Resources Board. They all have been instrumental in providing the public the benefits of quiet, neighborhood friendly, zero emission technology.”
The San Joaquin Regional Transit District will launch the buses into revenue service in May.
Commenting on the deployment of the new vehicles Donna DeMartino, general manager/CEO of the transit district noted, “We’ve been a local leader in the adoption of technologies that improve the environment and provide better services for our customers and our community. This project couldn’t have been done without the California Energy Commission, CALSTART, Cal/EPA and the California Air Resources Board. We’re excited to be a part of an historic new era of zero-emission public transportation, and we are proud of what we can now offer to those who live and work in our region.”